Katrina recriminations: Blame federalism!

A mostly political Weblog.
Sept. 5 2005 5:21 AM

Faster Katrina Recriminations

Blame federalism!

Instapundit's impressively extensive list for Katrina Relief donations. 

Decades as the Don Juan of Hollywood and this is the best dirt they have on Warren Beatty? Maybe that's what's embarrassing. The Schwarzenegger dirt was much better. I mean worse. ... 2:18 P.M.

My favorite Paranoid Overblogging on Katrina so far: The White House is sending evacuees to Texas as part of a Rovian attempt to subtly tweak the Electoral College!

Notice how Bush, et al., are shipping the mostly black remainder evacuees from New Orleans et environs to Texas? It practically amounts to gerrymandering of a sort. Since many, if not most, of the evacuees -- certainly mostly Democratic voters -- will remain in Texas, get jobs and homes, and never return to the Big Easy, Louisiana, a purple state (Clinton '92 and '96, Bush '00 and '04) becomes redder, and Texas, a huge very red state, gains yet more population while turning only slightly less red. 

Is it possible these effects are the result of deliberate design on the part of the White House political office and, namely, one Karl Rove? Otherwise, why wouldn't they be evacuating people to Memphis in purple Tennessee? Or Little Rock in purple Arkansas? [Emph. added]

Rove thinks of everything, I tell you. He's another mindermast! [Where did this appear? Kos? Atrios?--ed The GolfChannel.Com discussion board. Where the real Bush-bashers go.] 10:56 P.M.

I just saw Red Eye, the premise of which is that the Director of Homeland Security must be saved! I suspect audience enthusiasm has dropped off rather dramatically this week. ... [Update: "[I]t's the deputy secretary of Homeleand Security who must be saved"--emailer F.K. Wow. For a deputy secretary, he has a lot of security.]  10:29 P.M.

Federalism Strikes Again: As long as we're apportioning blame in the Katrina fiasco, here's another culprit: federalism, by which I mean a) the U.S.'s interpolation of an unnecessary level of government (states) between cities and the national government and b) the non-hierarchical, "sovereign" nature of this unnecessary level, so that the national government can't just give its Louisiana subdivision orders the way, say, General Motors can give its Pontiac division orders. This gratuitous complication of authority clearly crippled effective planning for a New Orleans catastrophe, as each level seems to have assumed that the other level would have a workable plan. ... And federalism is still bolixing up the relief operation, which now seems to have two bristling, competing centers of authority (the Louisiana governor and the Bush administration). From Sunday's WaPo:

Behind the scenes, a power struggle emerged, as federal officials tried to wrest authority from Louisiana Gov. Kathleen Babineaux Blanco (D). Shortly before midnight Friday, the Bush administration sent her a proposed legal memorandum asking her to request a federal takeover of the evacuation of New Orleans, a source within the state's emergency operations center said Saturday.

The administration sought unified control over all local police and state National Guard units reporting to the governor. Louisiana officials rejected the request after talks throughout the night .... [snip]

A senior administration official said that Bush has clear legal authority to federalize National Guard units to quell civil disturbances under the Insurrection Act and will continue to try to unify the chains of command that are split among the president, the Louisiana governor and the New Orleans mayor. ... [snip]

Blanco made two moves Saturday that protected her independence from the federal government: She created a philanthropic fund for the state's victims and hired James Lee Witt, Federal Emergency Management Agency director in the Clinton administration, to advise her on the relief effort.

Wouldn't it be better to have a system with one chain of command? Or is it desirable to have officials working through the night, not to provide help but to defend their turf? ... 2:30 A.M. link

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